From 14 September to 14 October 2022, and during the Berlin Art Week, the Misk Art Institute from Riyadh and the Berlin Art Institute will show works and projects by nine young Saudi artists, including a writer, at the Galerie der Neuen Schule für Fotografie in Berlin-Mitte. The exhibition Next Wave presents for the first time the results of the cooperation between the artist support programmes of the two institutes from Berlin and Riyadh, which have been working together since 2021.
Image above: MAI – 1. courtesy of Misk + Berlin Art Institute
The Next Wave exhibition brings together works and projects by a new generation of Saudi artists, touching on themes such as the environment, technology critique, determinism, belonging, coming to terms with memories and encounters with urban spaces. The works on display represent the culmination of the intensive artistic development and engagement of the respective scholarship holders from the years 2021 and 2022. They unite the practice-oriented funding programmes: the Masaha Residency Programme and the BAI Residency Programme of the Berlin Art Institute – which emphasise the importance of critical practice and research. The exhibition traces the encounter of the fellows within the exhibition space. The title of the exhibition Next Wave alludes to avant-garde and new territory. The works and projects of the artists are at the centre of the exhibition, with the crucial role of research and documentation.
Abdulmohsen Albinali’s (b. 1988 in Saudi Arabia, lives and works in London) multi-faceted work has its roots in the garden. An interdisciplinary artist, he uses recycled materials and narratives to invite the viewer to consider how our natural environment stimulates human ingenuity and thereby human creativity, contributing to the formation of complex social structures and beliefs over time. Does discourse permeate our understanding of and interaction with nature? Albinali invites us to reflect on this issue, even going so far as to question the distinction between “us” and “nature”.
Through a multi-sensory approach and to represent research, Abeer Sultan (*1999 in Saudi Arabia, lives and works in Riyadh) has created her own visual symbolism that reflects a global experience of death. Influenced by ancient Egyptian, Mediterranean and Arabic rituals around dying, Sultan initiated a process in which she mixes new symbols with traditional symbolism. In her video work entitled Al Bidaya (The Beginning), Sultan invites the viewer to question what death means in the digital age.
Bashaer Hawsawis (*1992 born in Saudi Arabia, lives and works between Mecca and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia) shows an installation entitled Eat Sand; I don’t Eat You in the exhibition, Her artistic work deals with the paradox of social inequality. From the cakes made of mud that Haitians were forced to eat as a result of the 2010 earthquake to the lush green tea farms in China, Hawsawi makes the viewer think about the contradictory state of affairs that has always been the case.
Fatma Abdulhadi’s (*1988 born in Saudi Arabia, lives and works in Riyadh) work is a reflection on transformation and collectivity that breaks away from singular representations. The temporary validity of identity is a fundamental component of her art. The processes involved in making prints allow her to examine and question these aspects more closely. What does it mean to be at home? What does it mean to belong? Is it tracing personal or collective history?
Hana Almilli (*1996 in Saudi Arabia, lives and works in Riyadh) weaves these threads together in her work (Through the earth, I come back home), which can be traced back to her ancestors: She uses old photographs as well as weaving and traditional dyeing techniques in her installation, using materials that come from the ground on which her ancestors once stood – the ground on which the artist now stands.
Sara Khalid’s (b. 1996 in Saudi Arabia, lives and works in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia) work sheds light on the cultural bias of technology that results from the dominance of one language over others. Her work is an attempt to imagine a new future where algorithms and technological devices can create stories and poems, where the code of the digital world is itself Arabic. Through a cross-disciplinary combination between materiality and research, her work encourages us to think about the subtle yet profound power of the structure of language.
Yousef Almana (*1997 born in Saudi Arabia, lives and works in Philadelphia, USA) sees Riyadh’s architecture as an expression of the city’s destiny. He claims that the cityscape of Almalaz, a district of Riyadh, is a direct reinterpretation of Constantinos A. Doxiadi’s ‘Ekistik’. Almana suggests that these architectural systems, imported from outside, have influenced the city’s population in ways that are not easily understood. Further, his installation work titled Perpetual Monochrome suggests that our lives, choices and relationships are determined – the perpetual monotony of a given lifestyle.
The work of Ziad Kaki (b. 1993 in Switzerland, lives and works in London) takes aim at psychological tensions and physical disfigurements. Inspired by classical mythology and museum pieces, the sculptural elements of his painterly works, coupled with their dark and vivid colours, evoke a sense of ahistorical visual contradiction.
Nada Alturki is a journalist and writer whose writing focuses on social constructions and social problems.
“The art scene as we know it is in the midst of a revolution. At a time when we are rediscovering lost art and becoming aware of emerging artists around the world, the expansion of art and the corresponding shift in focus is inevitable. It creates a world where art and artists alike are seen not just as names and artwork on a wall, but also as narratives that provoke discourse, questions and social interaction – and therein lies the true value of art. When we begin to ask ourselves why we are more likely to access certain narratives than others, we close the gap between our cultures and allow the truth of modernity to determine how we interact with the world around us.”NADA ALTURKI, FROM: A LETTER FROM THE RESIDENCE AUTHOR, EXHIBITION CATALOGUE NEXT WAVE, 2022.
On 15 September, a panel discussion will take place in the exhibition from 6-8 p.m. in which the artists will share their different experiences with the Misk Art Institute’s scholarship programmes and discuss the role of art as a bridge between cultures. The Berlin Art Institute will be presented as a partner of the Misk Art Institute. On 16 September, the Misk Art Institute invites you to talk to the exhibiting artists over oud music and Saudi coffee from 6-8 pm.
Misk Art Institue
Founded in 2017 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the Misk Art Institute is a non-profit organisation that aims to strengthen the local and regional creative community and promote appreciation of art and culture. The Institute is committed to making art more accessible and encourages emerging artists to flourish through a network of support, expertise, education and training – to open up opportunities and enhance the country’s artistic infrastructure. It offers exhibitions, publications and opportunities for creative development and residency programmes – in addition to the largest funding programme of its kind in the region: the Misk Art Grant. In addition, the Misk Art Institute hosts Misk Art Week once a year.
Berlin Art Institute
The Berlin Art Institute promotes artistic production, discourse, mediation and research and is dedicated to education and training in the contemporary context through educational programmes. Through international cooperation, the BAI strives for intercultural exchange and a lively, cross-border dialogue, and sees itself as a player in the art, culture, creative and educational sectors. The BAI was founded in 2015 by the artists Stephanie Jünemann and Ralf Schmitt and is located in the building complex 404 of the “Motorwerk Berlin” on the Industriebahn in Berlin-Weißensee, which also houses numerous studios, small businesses and an event hall.
Galerie der Neuen Schule für Fotografie, Brunnenstraße 188-190, 10119 Berlin-Mitte
Exhibition dates: Wednesday, 14. September until Friday, 14. October 2022
Thursday to Sunday, 1 to 6 pm
(during exhibitions only)